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Look Out for Foot Cancer

  • Dr. Bruce Zappan
  • August 03, 2017

While skin cancer most often is associated with sun exposure, it can still affect parts of your body that don’t normally get a lot of sun, such as your feet. Be sure not to neglect your feet this summer when it comes to sunscreen application. Also be aware that some cancers of the feet and ankles can be related to chemicals, viruses, and chronic irritation.

3 Types of Cancer that Can Strike Your Feet

  • Malignant melanoma—By far one of the most aggressive and deadly of cancers, a melanoma will grow deeper into the skin where it can easily spread to other parts of the body via blood vessels and lymph nodes. Melanomas can grow on the soles of the feet and underneath the toenails. They can often be mistaken for warts, moles, blisters, or bruises, so evaluation by your foot doctor is essential for proper diagnosis.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma—This type of cancer is rarely seen on the feet since it tends to be related to sun exposure. It is less aggressive than melanoma and is unlikely to spread beyond the skin.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma—This cancer can cause painless, itchy bumps that look like plantar warts, or it may resemble a fungal infection in other cases. It doesn’t usually spread unless it has been growing for a long time.

Since cancers of the feet can often appear as non-cancerous problems, it’s important to have the trained eye of a foot specialist to separate the benign from the potentially malignant. Early detection is critical for successful treatment. Always wear sunscreen, and try to limit your sun exposure during the heat of the day between 10am and 5pm.

For help identifying a skin lesion, or for any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles, Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.